Hurricane Telethon Gets 'Surprisingly Political'

'Anyone who believes ... there's no such thing as global warming must be blind'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2017 6:26 AM CDT

"You must be blind" isn't exactly an insult you'd expect to hear Stevie Wonder tossing around, but that's exactly how the singer addressed climate change deniers at a benefit telethon for hurricane victims on Tuesday night. "Anyone who believes that there's no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent," said the singer, who has been without sight since shortly after birth, as he kicked off the hourlong "Hand in Hand" event designed to offer relief after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, HuffPost reports. "Lord, please save us all," he added, before kicking off a rendition of "Lean on Me," with the Houston Gospel Choir providing backing vocals. Beyonce, who's from Houston, also spoke up on the topic.

"The effects of climate change are playing out around the world every day," she said, per the Daily Beast, referencing the two hurricanes, last week's earthquake in Mexico, and recent monsoon rains in South Asia. "We have to be prepared for what comes next." The Los Angeles Times and ABC News note the multi-network/multi-platform telethon got "surprisingly political" in other ways, too, including a racism reference by Beyonce and a mention by Drake that the news cycle has become "extremely overwhelming." And getting political is "precisely what a telethon in 2017 needs in order to be effective," the Daily Beast adds. The star-studded event, which Deadline notes filmed in New York, Nashville, San Antonio, and LA, also featured appearances by Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, among others. It raised over $44 million, including a $5 million Apple donation. (More Stevie Wonder stories.)

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